Guam – The Department of Education is finding it has more space in its southern schools, and less space in those located in the northern and central parts of the island.
According to Deputy Superintendent Robb Malay overall enrollment has stayed the same throughout the DOE’s elementary and middle schools but there has been an increase of about 600 high school students over the last three years, making space tighter for high schools located in growing population zones.
Looking at just the high school numbers we are seeing that the numbers of September 2010 are about 600 less than the numbers of September 2012” Malay told PNC.
But DOE is also finding that as more housing developments are built in the central and northern parts of the island, enrollment has grown at schools in those areas as well.
“GW has always had a space issue,” Malay said of George Washington High School’s ongoing overcrowding issues. While GW’s student population hasn’t gotten smaller, it also hasn’t grown much over the last three years.
“Right now the one thats most affected would be JFK” said Malay. John F Kennedy High School’s student population has grown by 400 students over the last three years.
“It’s a little bit bigger than what we expected and whats been the trend for the last five years,” JFK Assistant Principal Asherdee Rosette said of the school’s growth. “JFK has seen an increase in maybe about 200 plus students this school year.”
Rosette says school administrators have been working closely with the superintendent’s office to determine whether to transfer teachers to the school to fill the need, or have teachers volunteer to teach additional classes.
“It’s been previous practice that teachers who volunteer to teach to minimize the overcrowding are compensated” Rosette explained.
But with growth and the central and north likely to continue, should a new school be built?
“We could certainty make the argument for that,” Malay said. “We could also certainly make an argument for reestablishing attendance areas and living within the existing structures that we have. So all of those things are going to have to be weighed in on so that we can have manageable schools with manageable classes so that the learning process is protected and is functioning at its full ability.”